Tuesday, November 27, 2012

So much going on around the homestead!!

After taking the month to reflect on thankfulness, and my actual posts about our homesteading adventures have become so sparse, I have really missed it!!

We have been busy collecting wood... and by we, I mean the husband and sons.  I have mostly sat in the truck, knitting, while they have been busy sawing, hacking and chopping.   We have enjoyed many bonfires this fall-- and now we've been given the gift of bringing that warmth indoors!!  I will post more when our woodstove is installed next week, but we have been given a physical blessing by some dear friends of ours.  I can't wait to turn off our furnace!!

We said goodbye to several of our turkeys.  Most of them actually.  We had them processed and split them amongst our "turkey team".  Everyone had some homegrown turkeys to feast on this thanksgiving.  We got some really wonderful compliments on our birds from the processor!  They said they looked wonderful, healthy, full.  I give full credit to the amount of love and care they received.  And when we served our bird on thanksgiving day to family and dear friends, I swear you could taste a hint of that love.  We really enjoyed it.  We kept three birds, Spanish Blacks, our biggest Tom and two hens.  I find myself worrying about them so much more.  We want them to start laying so we can incubate the eggs and build our flock from their stock.  So a lot rides on their safety.  We had hoped to breed our Bourbon Reds, but we ended up not having a Tom, and they remained very small.  But the Spanish Blacks are a beautiful bird.  I love when our Tom fluffs out and gobbles at us.  He's truly magnificent and our hens have these beautiful grey accents in their feathers.  They will make pretty babies.

Right now I'm playing a waiting game.  I have already picked my Christmas presents.   They were born  nearly two weeks ago, two little Jersey Wooly rabbits.  I am getting them from a breeder in Lexington and I'm very excited... they are two small to mess with right now and the mother is protective... so I am waiting on pictures of my little wooly babies.  Seriously, I check my email about 100 times a day.  It's becoming a sickness.  Their cage is ordered, we're preparing for their arrival (the day after Christmas), and now I'm just hoping for a peek at them.  They will be fiber pets, as jersey woolies are a breed that originated in pairing a Netherland Dwarf rabbit with an Angora.  I fell in love with the breed's sweet face and figured since I was looking at little sheep, I should look at little bunnies!

We are also a hunting family now.  Who knew?  I grew up a hunter's daughter.  Seeing the camouflaged blur rush out of the house in the early mornings and early evenings.  Smelling the woodsy, dirt smell of scent cover-up and the florescent flashes of orange accenting the landscape... it's all very known to me.  But I never expected my husband to take to it the way he has.  I love it.  He has never really had a hobby.... and his love and almost spiritual need to be outdoors... this has just been great for him.  It also fulfills that deep-rooted manly need to provide for his family.  Gun season has ended and we have a freezer full of venison,  we celebrated thanksgiving a little early with wild turkey and now he's about to try his hand at bow hunting!  We just can't let the hunting season end!

I hope you and yours had a wonderful thanksgiving season.  We are now in full swing for advent preparations.  I love the advent season.  Sure, it's crazy and full of hustling... but in between the Christmas parades, church and school play practices, gift wrapping and tree decorating- there is joy!  It's a month long reminder to find joy in all things.  And I know that sounds just cliche and disgusting... to that I say "bah-humbug!".  Sure... finding joy is hard... especially amongst the busy-ness.  BUT when isn't it hard to seek joy?!?!  When isn't it hard to put it above our task list??  It's always hard... there's always something trying to steal it away.  But it's there.  It may be hiding, but when you choose to seek after joy-- it will find you!

Day 27... Spinning thankfulness

I am thankful for the gift of being able to spin yarn.  I have been knitting for most of my life.  But at some point, I got the idea to take a step backwards and try to spin my own yarn.  This lead me to a drop spindle, and then an amazing gift from my father of a kick spindle, then to a wheel.  I still use all of them.  I love spinning yarn.  This has now led me to where I am today, taking another step backwards and raising the animals that provide the fiber.   

Monday, November 26, 2012

Day 26... thankful for change

At the beginning of the year I finally did something to stop the yo-yo, up and down (mostly up) weight loss battle that I had been fighting since having my first son 9 years ago.  As someone who had never struggled with weight before, I realized that I was oblivious to how unhealthy I had become.  The husband and I made some big changes in our diet, started a program through our doctor's office and together have lost nearly 100 lbs!  I still have a few more I'd like to shed within the year, but I've reached all my big goals and am loving the life I have reclaimed!  

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Day 25... Hope.

I am thankful for hope.  I am thankful for the space to dream big.  I've been doing some dreaming lately.  More to come on that soon I'm sure, but right now I'm just thankful for the freedom to hope.  Sometimes hope is scary.  Sometimes,  the fears of past failures or shortcomings can weigh you down... but I've felt those burdens slip from my shoulders lately and have felt daring.  I am full of gratitude. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Day 24... Stillness

I am thankful in this moment that my children are still this small.  That a long day and a car ride can let them fall alseep so soundly.  I am also thankful that these two are still light enough to carry to bed!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Day 23... a Daddy's Love

I am thankful for the father that my husband is.  I am thankful for how he takes the time to teach our boys, for the way he helps them, guides them.  He is a wonderful father.  Our boys will become great men because of what they see in him.  I am beyond thankful for that. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Day 22... Thankful for family and friends

We had the pleasure of hosting Thanksgiving at our home this year and in addition to my mother and father -in-law we were also blessed with the company of my husband's sweet friend and mentor, Mr. Lyman Coleman.  What a gift he is to our family.  So thankful for family who always has an extra seat at the table!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day 21... Thankful for knitting

The most relaxing morning I have had in a long time.  Sitting in Kevin's Papaw's truck on the back of the farm, Christmas songs playing on the radio, knitting in my lap, watching my husband chop wood.  What a lovely morning.  I am thankful for my love of knitting.  It has provided me a job I love, a hobby I can rest with and the joy of giving gifts I have made.  

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Day 20... thankful for memories

Tonight I had the honor of singing for the Hospice memorial service.  A service commemorating all those who had gone before us and used the services of Hospice this past year.  My husband's dear grandparents and the inspiration for this blog, left us last fall.  We still miss them dearly.  Their names were read at the service and I sang with them in my heart.  I am thankful for the memories that not only I have, but that my children have.   Our time with our loved ones is precious.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

Day 19... warm thanks

My family loves a good campfire.  We have two official firepits in our yard, one in the front, one in the back.   My husband loves to build them, my boys love to tend to them... I love to sit as close as I can to them.  I am thankful for these small moments.  Telling stories, singing songs.  Enjoying the last of our fall evenings. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Day 18... our surprise boy

My littlest boy... no longer a baby.  Our surprise blessing.  During a time of change and upheaval in our life, full of uncertainty and doubt, we were given our sweet youngest boy.  Not thinking we were adding anymore to our family, we were gladly proven wrong.  He's my bringer of joy, always quick with a smile and laugh.  My cuddle bug.  I will not push away his snuggles- they are far too precious and that time for a mommy is fleeting.  I am thankful everyday that God's plans trump my own.  I love you sweet littlest boy. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Day 17- Middle Son

Day 17- My middlest boy.  My happy little elf of a son.  So tender hearted, so compassionate to others.  When we found out we were having another boy- I felt like my life was complete.  Two brothers.  What a wonderful blessing.  He is my adventurous boy, always climbing, always jumping, always moving, but he stills my heart.  I love you my middle son... 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Day 16- Oldest Son

Day 16- November 16, 4 am... this little man came into my life and I became a mother.  My sweet oldest son, full of adventure and humor and creativity.  I am blessed to call him mine... I smile everytime people tell us that he looks like me (poor little guy!!).  He makes me want to cry with his amazing brain and how hard he works at school.  I love you little man.  You are an amazing young man and everyday you make me more proud to be your mama. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Day 15- Thankfulness for Home...

Day 15... I am so thankful that my boys have this farm to grow up on.  I am so thankful that we live here and that we are raising them with such open land and raising them to respect the land and animals that live here with them.  I couldn't have dreamed this life for us... and now that it is unfolding into reality- I am beyond thankful... not just for this life for myself, but that this is their story as well. 

Sweater Progress...

The sweater is coming right along.  My goal is to wear it on Thanksgiving!  What fun that will be (I will need a full apron for cooking... I will probably just have to buy that since trying to start another project in the next week is not going to be a smart idea!)

The body is finished and I just have to finish the sleeves and sew on the buttons and I'm ready to wear my first sweater made for me.  I'm nervous about sleeves... I always seem to mess up my sleeves.  I don't know how... but that's usually how the sweater ends up being scrapped.  uhg.  Send me good sweater ju-ju.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Day 14- Thankful for Clarity

I am thankful for increasing clarity.  The more homesteading and rural living we do, the more we are affirmed that this is the life for us.  We are overwhelmed with the joys of farm life and the sweetness that the hard times allow us to cherish.  We are so thankful for this opportunity and blessing to live here. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Day 13- Thankful for healing

Today I woke up with a terrible pain in my shoulder and neck.  So painful, that i couldn't turn my head completely.  I had an ache in my shoulder the night before, but I blamed it on a 4 year old that continues to insist on being picked up and sleeping on it funny.  This morning it was bad enough I even said aloud I would take myself to the doctor, which alerted my husband that something was truly wrong since I never go to the doctor.  Instead I opted for a more natural, and much more relaxing option-- I would call our local massage therapists and see if I could make an emergency appointment.  Can I say how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE my massage therapist.  I have had prenatal massages with her, relaxation massages with her and now she squeezed me into her already busy day and blessed me with her healing touch.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Livestock Guardian Dogs

Back off you mean ol' predators.
Photo courtesy of Triple Holler Boer Goats
So... along with our sheep we've been doing research on guardian animals to keep the wool babies safe.    After reading a couple publications, I sought out breeders who raise their Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGDs) directly to guard.  Just because someone breeds Great Pyranese and other working class dogs, doesn't mean they are bred for that purpose.  I came upon Triple Holler Farm in Windsor, Kentucky, not terribly far from us and upon emailing the owners with a bunch of questions, got a wonderful and quick reply.  I've definitely chosen the right breeder for us.   They keep 8 working LGDs split up into different groups that protect a variety of their animals... and they've not lost an animal to coyote since they've had them.   Can't argue with that!   I simply can't wait to meet these amazing dogs (and owners, of course!!).   And who's going to love having these sweet pups around?  More than just me!  Beautiful breed and a valuable service member to our farm?!   Sold.

Day 12- New Beginnings

Day 12- I am so thankful for fresh starts.  Clean slates.  Chances to begin anew.  

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Day 11- Love of the hunt...

I was raised by a hunter.  My father still loves to hunt.  I never thought my husband would join that club, but he has.  Boy, has he ever.  On the first day of turkey season, he got his first wild turkey and now on the first day of deer season he has gotten his first deer.  What a fun new hobby this has turned out to be for him.  I am thankful for the provision. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Day 10- Brotherly Eucharisteo

Day 10- I am thankful for my brother Seth.  His time on this earth was too short, and I knew so little of him and remember so much less than that... but I will take it and take heart that I will see him again.

I so wish I had a better picture of me and my brother Jared.  (Katie-- we need to make this happen next time we are together my instagram ready sis-in-law!!)  He's about to become a daddy and what a fun dad he's going to be!  I am thankful for his kind and tender heart and his incessant desire to make others laugh :)

And my baby brother, hardly a baby.  I am thankful for what a man he's become seemingly overnight.  He works so hard and is such a great daddy to his boy.  I'm so proud of everything he's accomplished.

Very thankful for each of my siblings and what they've blessed me with as their sister. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Day 9- Sister Eucharisteo

Day 9- I am thankful for my sister Michaele.  She has been an inspiration to me and a wonderful example of a true lady, a Prov. 31 wife and an involved mother.  I am truly grateful for the bond we have developed and love her so much.  Wish Kentucky and California were a bit closer.

I am also so thankful for my younger sister, Rebekah.  It is a treasure to be an older sibling.  A treasure often taken for granted.  I now know what a gift my little sister is.  She's an amazing mom and wife and is a warrior of a woman.  She fights for those she loves and helps those who need her. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Day 8- Grateful

Day 8- Over the past month- I've had the pleasure of having dear friends from out of town come to visit.  I've been able to have coffee and lunch dates with several local friends.  I've been able to catch up with old friends and invest in new relationships.  It is not lost on me what a treasure true friendship is.  At one time in the not so distant past, I was a hurt and empty person.  I had no more trust to give and had wandered into a very lonely desert.   Today, I look around me and realize I'm not anywhere near that desert anymore.  I don't know exactly when I left.  I slowly started to realize the lush greens and the blue sky and the intensity of the friendships surrounding me.  Friends, I am so very thankful for you. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Day 7 - Thankful

I am so thankful for the chance to live on this beautiful farm.  My in-laws have blessed us so much by allowing us to build here and raise our children here.  I love it here. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Day 6-- Thankfulness

Day 6- I am thankful for the democratic process that our country can go through without war and fear of bloodshed.  I am thankful for the ability to freely share in the process of choosing leadership without threat of death.   I am thankful that as a woman, I have the right to vote and voice my opinion on the ballot because so many women in the world do not have this opportunity.  Regardless of who wins tonight's elections, I did my part and for that I am thankful. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Day 5 Eucharisteo

I am so thankful for my sweet doggies.  We rescued Honey during a very emotional time last year and her sweetness has helped to heal our hearts and her teddy bear face keeps us smiling all the time.  Sadie was a miracle addition to our little family.  She and Honey are inseparable (even sharing a crate) and they have made each other better dogs.  Our children adore them and they are so patient with them.  I love our sweet pups. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Eucharisteo Day 4

Day 4-  I am so thankful for this life I've been blessed to live.  I'm thankful for all of it.  God bringing us here from Chicago, never knowing that living on a farm would truly become "Living on a Farm!".  Never knowing how much I needed to live this life, to invest in the land, to fall in love with it.  So so very thankful for this opportunity and this season of my life. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Day 3-- Eucharisteo

Day 3--- I'm so thankful for all the skills I've been learning through the summer and look forward to learning more about homesteading and living a simple life.  I love the smell of fresh baked bread and I take pride in making it by hand.  Nothing tastes quite as good as warm bread from the oven with handchurned butter and fresh preserves. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Day 2-- Eucharisteo

Day 2- I'm so very thankful for my husband.  I could insert any of the lovely cliche's for marriage here and they would all be true.  I have married my best friend.  He's my favorite person in the world.  He never fails to support me, often times believing in me and my crazy dreams more than I do.  He's an amazing father and leader and I'm proud to be his wife.  I'm excited for this next season of our life together, homesteading and seeking a simpler existence.  *I love you.*

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Art of Less...

Over the last couple months, we've had a streak of stomach flu go through our house TWICE.  Who has been the fortunate one to hoard all the germs and sickness to herself.  Me.  The littlest got it once... briefly and on that occasion I got it for half a day.  Felt pretty proud of my immune system.  But more recently, I got a 7 day strain of stomach virus that lasted about 9 days total (and tack on a two day migraine right before that started).  What does that equal.  It equals Mommy hunkering down for 11 days.  Can you imagine what happens to the practice of simplicity and organization when Mommy takes 11 days off?  Imagine that, then multiply by that by a week full of after school activities, expound that with friends from out of town (I really thought I was on the mend and had been planning these visits for months!) and you get semi-controlled, non-simplified chaos.  That's actually probably more of a pessimistic view of things.  I wouldn't say we went backward as much as we just stayed where we were-- which is nice-- slightly frustrating to feel like I'm the main source of forward motion towards simplification of our home-- but eye opening to say the least.   So, now I'm back in full swing-- and it's time to get back on my game (and make sure the rest of my players get off the sidelines).

We've now got a new project--- more to come on this later--- and it's going to require some major living room simplification.  We've somehow got to rearrange our non-rearrangable room and pair down the furniture.   That is no easy task.  But after 11 days off I'm excited to get started.  I need to tackle a bookshelf, relocate two chairs and a hutch.  Oh, and do some halloween de-cluttering while the kids are at school.

Also, for the month of November... I'm going to try to share a "Eucharisteo" or thankfulness moment with you each day... some will be very personal... others probably more light hearted... but I am thankful for so so many things.  We are blessed and as we lead into Thanksgiving, my heart is overwhelmed and full.

Day 1- I am so very thankful for these three little men.  They keep me laughing, they keep me busy and they keep me humble.  I am blessed to be a mommy of my three little boys.  They are each so unique and I'm constantly in awe of their creativity and adventurous hearts.